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Shishapangma (left) from mountain flight, Nepal
Highest point
Elevation8,027 m (26,335 ft)[1][2][3][4]
Ranked 14th
Prominence2,897 m (9,505 ft)[5]
Ranked 111th
Isolation91 km (57 mi) Edit this on Wikidata
Coordinates28°21′08″N 85°46′47″E / 28.35222°N 85.77972°E / 28.35222; 85.77972Coordinates: 28°21′08″N 85°46′47″E / 28.35222°N 85.77972°E / 28.35222; 85.77972[6]
Shishapangma is located in Tibet
Tibet Autonomous Region
LocationNyalam County, Tibet Autonomous Region, China
Parent rangeJugal/Langtang Himal, Himalayas
First ascent2 May 1964 by Xu Jing et al. (Chinese)
(First winter ascent 14 January 2005 Piotr Morawski and Simone Moro)
Easiest routesnow/ice climb
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese高僧赞峰
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese希夏幫馬峰
Tibetan name
Nepalese name
Nepaleseशिशापाङ्मा Shishāpāngmā or गोसाईथान Gōsāīthān

Shishapangma,[7][8] also called Gosainthān, is the 14th highest mountain in the world at 8,027 metres (26,335 ft) above sea level. It was the last 8,000 metre peak to be climbed, due to its location entirely within Tibet and the restrictions on visits by foreign travelers to the region imposed by authorities of the Government of China and of the Tibet Autonomous Region.


Geologist Toni Hagen explained the name as meaning a "grassy plain" or "meadow" (pangma) above a "comb" or a "range" (shisha or chisa) in the local Tibetan, thereby signifying the "crest above the grassy plains".[9][10]

On the other hand, Tibetologist Guntram Hazod records a local story that explains the mountain's name in terms of its literal meaning in the Standard Tibetan language: shisha, which means "meat of an animal that died of natural causes", and sbangma which means "malt dregs left over from brewing beer". According to the story, one year a heavy snowfall killed most of the animals at pasture. All that the people living near the mountain had to eat was the meat of the dead animals and the malt dregs left over from brewing beer, and so the mountain was named Shisha Pangma (shisha sbangma), signifiying "meat of dead animals and malty dregs".[11]

The Sanskrit name of the mountain, Gosainthan, means "place of the saint" or "Abode of God".[12] The name is in use in popular literature. For example, in Tintin In Tibet comic strip,[13] the fictional Air India flight had crashed at Gosainthan. Tintin, Captain Haddock and sherpa-team went in search of Chang Chong-Chen to Gosainthan. Some people also use the name - Shishapangma.


Shishapangma is located in south-central Tibet, five kilometres from the border with Nepal. It is the only eight-thousander entirely within Chinese territory. It is also the highest peak in the Jugal Himal which is contiguous with and often considered part of Langtang Himal.[14] The Jugal/Langtang Himal straddles the Tibet/Nepal border. Since Shishapangma is on the dry north side of the Himalayan crest and further from the lower terrain of Nepal, it has less dramatic vertical relief than most major Himalayan peaks.

Shishapangma has a subsidiary peak higher than 8,000 m: Central-Peak at 8,008 m (26,273 ft).[3]

Ascents and attempts[edit]

Some of Shishapangma's ascents are not well verified, or still in dispute. Some climbers claim to have reached the summit when in fact they reached the slightly lower central (west) summit at 8,013 m (26,289 ft), which is still almost two hours climbing from the 14-metre-higher (46 ft), true summit of 8,027 m (26,335 ft).[15] Respected Himalayan chronicler and record keeper, Elizabeth Hawley,[16][17] famously got Ed Viesturs (amongst others), to re-climb the true main summit of Shishapangma in his quest to climb all 14 eight-thousanders. Her "Himalayan Database" would not accept central (west) summit ascents as full ascents of Shishapangma.[18]

Thirty-one people have died climbing Shishapangma, including Americans Alex Lowe and Dave Bridges in 1999, veteran Portuguese climber Bruno Carvalho and also noted Bulgarian climber Boyan Petrov, who disappeared on 3 May 2018. Nevertheless, Shishapangma is regarded as one of the easiest eight-thousanders to climb. The most common ascent via the Northern Route ascends via the northwest face and northeast ridge and face, and has relatively easy access, with vehicle travel possible to base camp at 5,000 m (16,400 ft). Routes on the steeper southwest face are more technically demanding and involve 2,200 metres (7,220 ft) of ascent on a 50-degree slope.

First ascent[edit]

Shishapangma was first climbed via the Northern Route on 2 May 1964 by a Chinese expedition led by Xǔ Jìng. In addition to Xǔ Jìng, the summit team consisted of Zhāng Jùnyán, Wang Fuzhou, Wū Zōngyuè, Chén Sān, Soinam Dorjê, Chéng Tiānliàng, Migmar Zhaxi, Dorjê, and Yún Dēng.[12][19]

Later ascents and attempts[edit]

  • 1980 7 May, "Northern Route", (second ascent) by Michael Dacher, Wolfgang Schaffert, Gunter Sturm, Fritz Zintl, Sigi Hupfauer and Manfred Sturm (12 May); as part of a German expedition.[20]
  • 1980: 13 October, "Northern Route", (3rd ascent) by Ewald Putz and Egon Obojes, as part of an Austrian expedition.[21]
  • 1981: 30 April, "Northern Route", (4th ascent) by Junko Tabei, Rinzing Phinzo and Gyalbu Jiabu, as part of a Japanese women's expedition.[21]
  • 1981: 28 May, "Northern Route", (5th ascent) by Reinhold Messner and Friedl Mutschlechner, as part of an Austrian expedition.[21]
  • 1982: 28 May, "British Route", southwest face, also known as "Right-hand couloir" (alpine style), FA by Doug Scott, Alex Macintyre and Roger Baxter-Jones (all UK). Route follows the right-hand couloir on the southwest face.[20]
  • 1987: 18 September,[22][23][24] Elsa Ávila and Carlos Carsolio become the first Mexicans to summit Shishapangma. For Ávila, her first eight-thousander and for Carsolio, his second, via the northern face/ridge to the central summit, then along the arete to the main summit, with Wanda Rutkiewicz, Ramiro Navarrete, and Ryszard Warecki.[21][22][23]
  • 1987: 18 September, west ridge, FA by Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hajzer (both Poland). A new route along the ridge west, by the western summit (first entry) and continue through by the middle summit on the main summit. Kukuczka skied down from near the summit. This was his last of fourteen eight-thousanders.[21][22][23][24]
  • 1987: 19 September, central couloir, north face, FA by Alan Hinkes (UK) and Steve Untch (US).[21][22][23][24]
  • 1989: 19 October, Central buttress, southwest face, FA by Andrej Stremfelj and Pavle Kozjek.[22][23][24][25]
  • 1990: Left-hand couloir, southwest face (not reaching the main summit[22][23]), Wojciech Kurtyka (Poland), FA by Erhard Loretan (Switzerland) and Jean Troillet (Switzerland)[24][26]
  • 1993: Far-right couloir, southwest face, FA solo by Krzysztof Wielicki (Poland).[22][23][24][26]
  • 1993: May 22, Marcos Couch and Nicolás De la Cruz (Argentinian expedition).
  • 1994: Left-hand couloir, southwest face (not reaching the main summit[22][23]), Erik Decamp (France), Catherine Destivelle (France).
  • 1996: 9 October, Anatoli Boukreev completed a solo ascent.[27]
  • 1999: 28 September, Edmond Joyeusaz (Italy) first ski descent from central summit.
  • 2002: 5 May, "Korean Route" on southwest face, FA by Park Jun Hun and Kang Yeon Ryoung (both South Korea).[25]
  • 2002 26 October: Tomaž Humar(Slovenia), Maxut Zhumayev, Denis Urubko, Alexey Raspopov and Vassily Pivtsov got to the summit. Tomaž Humar climbed last 200 m (80°/50–60°, 200 m) of ascent and descent (65–75°, 700 m)
  • 2004: 11 December, Jean-Christophe Lafaille (France) provokes controversy when he climbs the "British Route" on the southwest face, solo, and claims a winter ascent. Since this was not calendar winter, he changes his claim to an ascent "in winter conditions."[28]
  • 2005: 14 January, first (calendar) winter ascent by Piotr Morawski (Poland) and Simone Moro (Italy).[22]
  • 2011: 16–17 April, Ueli Steck (Switzerland) solos the southwest face in 10.5 hours, leaving base camp (5,306m) at 10:30 pm on 16 April and returning to base camp 20 hours later.[29][30]
  • 2014: September 24, Sebastian Haag died together with the Italian mountaineer Andrea Zambaldi in an avalanche.[31] Haag was 36 years old.[32]
  • 2018: May 3, Bulgarian climber Boyan Petrov disappeared after having been last seen at Camp 3 (~7,400 m). A subsequent two-week long search effort found only a few personal items and medicine.[33]


  • A Photographic record of the Mount Shisha Pangma Scientific Expedition. Science Press Peking 1966.
  • Scott, Doug; MacIntyre, Alex (2000) [1984]. Shisha Pangma: The Alpine Style First Ascent of the South-West Face. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. ISBN 0-89886-723-1.
  • Venables, Stephen; Fanshawe, Andy (1996). Himalaya Alpine-Style: The Most Challenging Routes on the Highest Peaks. Seattle: Mountaineers Books. ISBN 0-89886-456-9.
  • Sale, Richard, Cleare, John: On Top of the World (Climbing the World's 14 Highest Mountains), lists of ascents, HarperCollins Publ., 2000, ISBN 978-0-00-220176-6.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Shishapangma". Retrieved 2014-08-24.
  2. ^ "青藏高原的伟大崛起" (in Chinese). China National Geographic. October 2009. Retrieved 2014-08-24.
  3. ^ a b "Shisha Pangma". 13 February 2008. Retrieved 2014-08-24.
  4. ^ "Shisha Pangma". Mar 7, 2007. Retrieved 2014-08-24.
  5. ^ "High Asia II: Himalaya of Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and adjoining region of Tibet". Retrieved 2014-05-29.
  6. ^ "Shisha Pangma". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  7. ^ Potterfield, Peter; Viesturs, Ed; Breashears, David (2009). Himalayan Quest: Ed Viesturs Summits All Fourteen 8,000-Meter Giants. National Geographic. p.137 ISBN 1-4262-0485-X.
  8. ^ Spelled "Shisha Pangma" in Messner, Reinhold (1999). All 14 eight-thousanders. Mountaineers Books. p.105. ISBN 0-89886-660-X.
  9. ^ Dyhrenfurth, Günther. O.; Dyhrenfurth, Norman (1977). "Shisha Pangma". Mountain. Youth Hostels Association (England & Wales) (53–64): 47.
  10. ^ Baume, Louis (1979). Sivalaya: explorations of the 8000-metre peaks of the Himalaya. Seattle: The Mountaineers. pp. 131–132. ISBN 0-916890-71-6.
  11. ^ Hazod, Guntram (1998). "bKra shis 'od 'bar. On the History of the Religious Protector of the Bo dong pa". In Blondeau, Anne-Marie (ed.). Tibetan mountain deities, their cults and representations: papers presented at a panel of the 7th seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Graz, 1995. Verlag der Osterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. p. 65. ISBN 978-3-7001-2748-2.
  12. ^ a b Baume, 1979, op. cit. pp 130-134
  13. ^ Tintin In Tibet, 1960, op. cit. pp 2, 10
  14. ^ Carter, H. Adams (1985). "Classification of the Himalaya" (PDF). American Alpine Journal. American Alpine Club. 27 (59): 122–3. Retrieved 2011-05-01.
  15. ^ "Asia, Tibet, Cho Oyu and Shisha Pangma Central (West) Summit". American Alpine Journal. 1991.
  16. ^ If a mountaineer wants worldwide recognition that they have reached the summit of some of the most formidable mountains in the world, they will need to get the approval of Elizabeth Hawley."Elizabeth Hawley, unrivalled Himalayan record keeper". BBC News. 29 August 2010.
  17. ^ "Elizabeth Hawley, Who Chronicled Everest Treks, Dies at 94". New York Times. 26 January 2018.
  18. ^ Keeper of the Mountains: The Elizabeth Hawley Story. Rocky Mountain Books. 5 October 2012. pp. 185–195. ISBN 978-1927330159.
  19. ^ Cheng, Cho (1964). "The Ascent of Sisha Pangma" (PDF). Alpine Journal. 69: 211–216. Retrieved 2020-01-15. Lay summary.
  20. ^ a b Scott & MacIntyre
  21. ^ a b c d e f Scott & Macintyre 2000, op. cit., pp 303-306
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i List of ascents at
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h R. Sale, J. Cleare: On top of the world. Climbing the world's 14 highest mountains, lists of ascents, HarperCollins Publ., 2000, page 221
  24. ^ a b c d e f List of significant ascents of Shisha Pangma,(with further links to pdf files with details)
  25. ^ a b "Korean Highway Corporation 2002 Shishapangma Expedition",, 17 May 2002
  26. ^ a b " Korean Alpinists Climb New Route on SW Face of Shishapangma",
  27. ^ "Above the Clouds", pp. 186-197
  28. ^ Lafaille, Jean-Christophe (1 June 2005). "Shishapangma, Southwest Face". Alpinist Magazine. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  29. ^ "Steck Solos Shishapangma in 10.5 Hours". 18 April 2011. Archived from the original on 23 July 2012. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  30. ^ "News Flash: Ueli Solos Shisha Pangma in 10.5 Hours". 19 April 2011. Archived from the original on 20 February 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
  31. ^ "Avalanche accident at Shisha Pangma". Double 8. September 25, 2014. Archived from the original on September 27, 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-27.
  32. ^ "Tragödie am Gipfel des Shisha Pangma" (in German). September 25, 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-27.
  33. ^ "The final report puts to rest all speculations surrounding the Boyan Petrov Search Operation", Dream Wanderlust, May 17, 2018.

External links[edit]